Factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci has become a MotoGP race winner as he saw off Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso in an epic battle at Mugello.
Petrucci forcefully regained the lead when Marquez and Dovizioso blazed past him up the hill into San Donato at the start of the final lap, and went on to take victory by 0.043s.
Marquez finished second on his Repsol Honda, extending championship lead in the process, while Dovizioso made it two Mission Winnow Ducatis on the podium having held off Alex Rins at the final corner.
Rins was good value for fourth on his Suzuki Ecstar entry, while Jack Miller crashed out when he pushed his Pramac Ducati too hard as he tried to stay with the lead group.
Marquez led the field to the first corner with Cal Crutchlow second, Dovizioso jumping from ninth on the grid to third position, and Petrucci and Miller emerging in fourth and fifth respectively.
Dovizioso, Petrucci, and Miller had all passed the Castrol LCR Honda by the time they got back to San Donato, and Rins relegated Crutchlow to sixth before the second lap was out.
What followed for the next dozen laps or so was a furious battle between the top five.
Initially it was Petrucci, Miller, and Rins fighting for third before Petrucci got under Dovizioso at Scarperia on Lap 5.
Seconds later, he was challenging Marquez also and the three GP19 Ducatis swarmed on the factory Honda at the top of the main straight on Lap 6, where Petrucci took the lead and Miller seized third as Marquez dropped behind Rins to fifth position
The world champion spent only a lap behind the Suzuki while Dovizioso passed Petrucci at the start of Lap 7.
Miller tried to take second from #9 at San Donato a lap later but the Italian quickly re-passed his former team-mate and the Australian was shuffled back to fifth.
Petrucci passed Dovizioso at Bucine on Lap 8 but #04 slipstreamed back past up the straight, and Rins got both Marquez and Petrucci on Lap 9.
The Suzuki pilot took first position from Dovizioso at Correntaio on Lap 10 and Petrucci followed, but Rins was swallowed up by the three behind at the start of Lap 11.
Rins had a couple more brief spells in the top three but by then the contest was entering into a holding pattern with Petrucci heading Marquez and Dovizioso.
Miller got himself back in touch with the top four by setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap 15, only to lose the front at Materassi on Lap 16.
Dovizioso reignited the battled when he squeezed past Marquez at San Donato on Lap 19, then rounded up Petrucci at the same spot a lap later.
Petrucci got him back at Scarperia and had too much for Dovizioso under brakes at San Donato on Lap 21.
He started the 23rd and final lap in the lead but was slipstreamed by Marquez and Dovizioso into San Donato.
The Italian responded by jamming his Ducati back inside #04 and #93 on exit, forcing both Marquez and Dovizioso to pick up their bikes.
Rins had a go at Dovizioso at the final corner but was kept at bay, as Petrucci broke through in the best possible circumstances.
“It’s unbelievable, in the best place of the world here,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable, in front of my fans, in my home town, it’s unbelievable.
“It was a fantastic race, I cannot describe the feeling I have now because I haven’t recognised that I have won, and now I think when I jump on the podium I will realise.
“For sure I would like to thank my family, my friends, and all the people in Ducati, and also Andrea Dovizioso for helping me through the winter and this season. This win is for everyone who helped me.”
Takaaki Nakagami was fifth and best of the independent team riders on his Idemitsu LCR Honda, ahead of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha), Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory), and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas SRT Yamaha), who made a poor start from the middle of the front row.
Valentino Rossi had a horror show from 18th on the grid, surviving a touch with Joan Mir’s Suzuki that saw both traverse a gravel trap on Lap 5, before crashing his Monster Energy Yamaha for good at Arrabbiata 2 on Lap 8.
Round 7 of the MotoGP season takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 14-16.
Race results: Italian MotoGP
|1||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||41:33.794|
|2||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+0.043|
|3||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||+0.338|
|4||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+0.535|
|5||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+6.535|
|6||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+7.481|
|7||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||+13.288|
|8||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+13.937|
|9||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+16.533|
|10||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+17.994|
|11||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+20.523|
|12||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+20.544|
|13||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+20.813|
|14||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+27.298|
|15||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+28.051|
|16||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+30.101|
|17||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+41.857|
|DNF||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||8 Laps|
|DNF||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||12 Laps|
|DNF||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAS||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||14 Laps|
|DNF||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||16 Laps|
|DNF||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||18 Laps|
|DNF||53||Tito RABAT||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||0 Lap|
Race winner: 23 laps